Terry Klein’s latest album is titled simply Tex. It’s his sophomore CD with more of what his fans are no doubt expecting following his 2017 debut disc Great Northern. But first, for those not yet in the know, a bit of background on the artist in question:
Terry Klein is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist out of Austin, Texas. His signature sound is a musical melding of multiple genres including Americana, country, and folk. He is inspired by such other artists as John Prine and Bruce Springsteen. Klein draws inspiration from film, literature, and painting as well. He is considered by some to be the “new voice among Austin songwriters.”
Klein leads the way here on acoustic guitar and vocals. He is backed by an assortment of other artists as well including Bill Small (bass), John Chipman (drums), Bart de Win (piano, keyboards, and accordion), Jaimee Harris and Walt Wilkins (backing vocals), Ron Flynt (bass. piano, and keyboards), Kim Deschamps (steel), Robert Casillas (bajo sexto and accordion), John Bush (percussion), Corby Schaub (electric guitar), Warren Hood (fiddle), and Arianne Knegt (spoken word vocals). His character-driven cuts are intense, tragic, and sometimes complicated.
Track by track
”Sagamore Bridge” opens this ten-track album. It certainly earns its status as what PR folks call a “focus track.” The Cape Cod setting might initially be surprising since the album is named after Texas but the song works because it describes a nigh-universal struggle between locals and tourists. It makes sense to anyone who lives in a place with a seasonal tourist trade.
The second selection, “Oklahoma”, takes listeners to fabled red dirt country. This is the album’s first single and presents a personal presentation involving drinking, driving, and the death of the narrator’s mother. It’s poignant and real. Klein confesses “this track has some of my favorite sounding moments on the whole record.”
The tender tune “Every Other Sunday” is a simple, bittersweet bit about familial relationships. Klein explores the memories of a young man once shuttled back and forth between his divorced parents.
“Too Blue to Get That Far” follows. By now his signature sound should be obvious even to new listeners as he continues with his original compositions.
“Anika” focuses on the heartbreak of lost love. He sings: “Some things just stay broke/And that’s the way it goes.” It’s a fave of both fans and critics.
The next number is “Andalusia.” It’s another example of what he can do despite not getting the press that some other selections have received. It probably works even better as a live song.
“Straw Hat” takes us in a welcome up-tempo direction. The song combines roadhouse and ragtime with a noteworthy piano line. It’s fun and refreshing.
“Daddy’s Store” is another critically praised piece. It is a musical message about the road not taken. It’s about a dutiful son who sacrifices his personal plans to help run the family business when his father is seriously injured.
“When the Ocotillo Bloom” is a nice number that comes complete with a taste of Tex-Mex to it.
Finally, the album endnote is the slow-burn song “Steady Rain.” This smoky blues-tinged tune tells the tuneful tale of an old spy reflecting on his career and one particular fave femme fatale he calls “Two-t’s Anitta.” Details such as that help make his song-stories real.
Overall, this platter is a compilation of new songs that sound like they’ve been around forever. His material tells tuneful tales of how life can be complete with familiar yet personal themes and spot-on observations. So check out Terry Klein’s Tex and you might just find yourself listening to it “Every Other Sunday.”